Posted by on September 19, 2023 6:40 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

Hunter Biden cites COVID-19 and traffic in bid to plead not guilty by video arraignment

Hunter Biden talks with guests during a State Dinner for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Susan Walsh/AP

Hunter Biden cites COVID-19 and traffic in bid to plead not guilty by video arraignment

Kaelan Deese September 19, 05:52 PM September 19, 06:29 PM Video Embed

President Joe Biden‘s son, Hunter Biden, plans to plead not guilty to three federal gun charges, his attorney Abbe Lowell wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

The younger Biden was charged last week with three felony gun charges tied to owning a firearm while using or being addicted to narcotics. He was previously arraigned for a now-defunct plea deal in July, and his counsel seeks to have his forthcoming arraignment held remotely, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about traffic due to the high-profile nature of his client.


“Since that proceeding, Mr. Biden has scrupulously complied with his conditions since returning home to California,” Lowell wrote in a letter, referring to the conditions for his release by the probation officer following his July 26 appearance before U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika.

“These sorts of initial appearances by video became commonplace upon the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, which demonstrated their efficiency and lack of prejudice to the parties,” Lowell wrote, adding that despite the waning of the pandemic, this federal jurisdiction hasn’t “hesitated to conduct initial appearances or arraignments by video when it is more efficient to do so.”

Michael Benza, a professor and expert in criminal law at Case Western Reserve University, told the Washington Examiner the younger Biden’s request is par for the course in the post-pandemic era, saying, “We’ve learned a lot since then.”

“In most of your state jurisdictions, everything is done remotely for this initial stuff,” adding a defendant is typically only brought into state courtrooms once a trial is underway.

Former President Donald Trump has made both in-person and remote court appearances in his string of legal troubles this year after facing indictments in four criminal cases, in addition to several ongoing civil matters.

The former president recently asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon if the government could build a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago in his classified documents case, citing an anticipated burden to move Trump and his security detail to the one located at the Miami courthouse.


Among other reasons why the first son thinks he shouldn’t have to commute from California to Delaware is to “minimize an unnecessary burden on government resources and the disruption to the courthouse and downtown areas,” citing the need for Secret Service protection during an in-person arraignment.

“Mr. Biden is not seeking any special treatment in making this request. He has attended and will attend any proceedings in which his physical appearance is required,” Lowell said, noting the district court permitted a defendant to appear remotely as recently as January this year.

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